LG to start mass production of OLED TV panels in early 2014?

LG Display is still suffering from low yields (and low uniformity) in their OLED TV pilot line (M1) and they had to delay launching these TVs (originally planned for June 2012), but that didn't stop LG's chairman from deciding to devote the company's main R&D resources towards OLED TVs development. Now we hear that LG Display actually decided to start building a mass production line (called M2) - which will become fully operational in Q1 2014 with a capacity of 32,000 substrates monthly - or about 180,000 55" OLED TV panels in a month (assuming 100% yield, so obviously the real number will be lower).

LGD is expected to start placing equipment orders during the next quarter - and in fact the company already sent letters of intent (LOI) to some companies. The company will officially announce this investment plan "any day now". The M2 line will be able to process the evaporation and encapsulation on a full substrate (in the M1 pilot line the substrate is cut in half before those steps).

If this report is true, it's a major decision that will cost billions, and is also very risky as there are still technology hurdles. But if LGD succeeds in their plan to become the OLED TV leaders, they will be able to produce those large panels at a much lower cost simply due to the large capacity and efficiency of such a fab. They will be able to produce over a million panels a year which is quite significant (even though it'll still be only a small percent of the entire global TV market).

LG is also working on next-gen technologies (transparent and flexible OLEDs and ink-jet printing processes) which will be required to further bring costs down in the future.

Posted: Oct 25,2012 by Ron Mertens